Jul 11 2008

Robert Dreyfuss on Obama’s foreign policy, Amanda Marcotte on ‘pregnancy pact’ story


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Barack Obama’s image as a harbinger of change has many hoping his election will bring change in foreign policy. He certainly differs from George Bush on the need for diplomacy. But what about issues such as the projection of American power and so-called humanitarian intervention? Does Obama’s thinking really represent a departure from, say, Bill Clinton’s views, or from the bipartisan thinking of the Cold War period? We’ll talk to journalist Robert Dreyfuss about his Nation magazine report, “Obama’s Evolving Foreign Policy.” Also on CounterSpin today, a story that proved too good to be […]

Jun 16 2006

Barbara Olshansky on Guantánamo Bay, Trudy Lieberman on Medicare

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Since the suicides of three detainees at the Guantánamo Bay detention center the US military command has banned all journalists and lawyers, turning what was a remote prison revealing little news into an informational black hole. We’ll talk to Barbara Olshansky, lead counsel of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Also on CounterSpin: Now that the deadline for enrollment in the White House’s new Medicare drug plan has passed, will media get beyond the “Republicans claim/Democrats disagree” approach to the story? We’ll hear from journalist and author Trudy Lieberman […]

Jan 1 2004

Networks Didn’t Follow the Money in Medicare Story

"Campaign contributions" a forbidden term

The nightly network newscasts devoted significant broadcast time to the debate over the restructuring of Medicare. But while some reports described the corporate interests that stood to gain under the plan to offer a prescription drug benefit, few addressed the question of why Congress would pass a law so beneficial to the healthcare industries. In short, network news failed to heed the old advice: Follow the money. A CBS Evening News report–aired on November 25, after the bill had passed–mentioned that the “biggest corporate winner by far is the drug industry itself, mostly because under the new law Medicare is […]

Jan 1 1998

Schoolhouse Crock

Right-wing myths behind the 'new stupidity'

How much change should you get back after putting down $3 to pay for a 60-cent cup of soup and a $1.95 sandwich? Would you believe that exactly 56.3 percent of American college graduates were unable to figure this out? Would you believe more than half can’t even read a bus schedule? Syndicated columnist John Leo, writing for U.S. News & World Report (4/21/97), thinks you should. He says it’s all a consequence of the “new stupidity.” Last April, copies of Leo’s “The Answer is 45 Cents” began showing up in teachers’ mail slots. My wife got one. All the […]

Mar 1 1997

The Generation Gambit

The Right's Imaginary Rift Between Young and Old

What have the media taught us about Generation X? We know that the age of first marriage is higher than ever before. (True.) Wages are down more than 20 percent from the early 1970s. (True.) Young people see old people as the enemy. Whoops! The media have been duped by a clever campaign whose intention is to get rid of those nasty Social Security programs. Perhaps the idea of “generational warfare” was too good a story to question. Whatever the reason, the media have turned an ideological assertion into conventional wisdom—and in the process have distorted the political voice of […]

Jul 1 1995

The Myth of Social Security’s Imminent Collapse

Social Security cards

Thirty years ago, when Barry Goldwater proposed making Social Security voluntary, he was dismissed as a lunatic. Now, however, the radical transformation of Social Security–essentially its privatization–is the consensus among the political class and the pundits who serve them. The strategy of the privatizers is proving quite successful. Sow doubts about the future solvency of the system. Chip away its near-universal political support by taxing benefits of “affluent” retirees, periodically lowering the definition of affluence. Encourage the “affluent” retirees of the future to provide for themselves, because of the system’s wobbliness. And eventually turn the public pension system into welfare for […]

Mar 1 1994

Campus Feminists: The Media’s New Bogeywomen

In her new book Where the Girls Are, Hampshire College media studies professor Susan J. Douglas argues that to grow up female with the mass media in the United States is to grow up confused, or, as she puts it, “with the bends.” When it comes to the women’s movement, or the dreaded F-word, “No wonder young women, who were infants and toddlers at the height of the women’s movement, say, ‘I’m not a feminist, but…’” says Douglas. Time magazine’s Dec. 4, 1989 cover asked the question, “Is there a future for feminism?” Inside, the story revived old ghosts: “Hairy […]

Mar 1 1994

Bashing Youth

Media Myths About Teenagers

“Unplanned pregnancies. HIV infection and AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases. Cigarettes, alcohol and drug abuse. Eating disorders. Violence. Suicide. Car crashes.” The 21-word lead-in to a Washington Post (12/22/92) report sums up today’s media image of the teenager: 30 million 12- through 19-year-olds toward whom any sort of moralizing and punishment can be safely directed, by liberals and conservatives alike. Today’s media portrayals of teens employ the same stereotypes once openly applied to unpopular racial and ethnic groups: violent, reckless, hypersexed, welfare-draining, obnoxious, ignorant. And like traditional stereotypes, the modern media teenager is a distorted image, derived from the dire […]